Backyard Base

Temistocles Ramirez de Arellano, 53, a wealthy U.S. citizen, cattle rancher and landowner in Honduras, thought he was doing the patriotic thing. In return for "fair compensation," he agreed on June 4 to turn over up to 2,000 acres of his 14,000-acre ranch, near Puerto Castilla, Honduras, to Honduran military officials so that U.S. military advisers could set up a base for training Salvadoran troops. Later that day, the U.S. embassy informed him that the agreement was not valid. On June 6, bulldozers showed up anyway.

Since then, Ramirez says, the U.S. military has taken over an...

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